WASHINGTON (AP) — Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul defied leaders of both parties Thursday and single-handedly delayed until next week Senate approval of an additional $40 billion to help Ukraine and its allies withstand Russia’s three-month old invasion.
With the Senate poised to debate and vote on the package of military and economic aid, Paul denied leaders the unanimous agreement they needed to proceed. The bipartisan measure, backed by President Joe Biden, underscores U.S. determination to reinforce its support for Ukraine’s outnumbered forces.
The legislation has been approved overwhelmingly by the House and has strong bipartisan support in the Senate. Final passage is not in doubt.
Even so, Paul’s objection was an audacious departure from an overwhelming sentiment in Congress that quickly helping Ukraine was urgent, both for that nation’s prospects of withstanding Vladimir Putin’s brutal attack and for discouraging the Russian president from escalating or widening the war.
It was also a brazen rebellion against his fellow Kentucky Republican, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell began Thursday’s session by saying senators from “both sides” — meaning Republicans and Democrats — needed to “help us pass this urgent funding bill today,” gesturing emphatically as he said “today.”
Paul, a libertarian who often opposes U.S. …read more